William Oliver Lusk
by Trudy Lusk
Information submitted by Jean Arndt
(Oct., 1822 - 12 August, 1901)
August 28, 1863, William Oliver Lusk (age 42) and son John B. Lusk joined Union forces for one year at Larkinsville, AL. William Oliver was given the rank of sergeant; John, private. Father and son served under 1st lieutenant John William Williams and Captain Ephraim Latham. Jonathan Latham was a witness to their contract.
William Oliver was captured at Hunts Mill, AL, Sept. 26, 1863, and sent to Libby Prison in Virginia. He was paroled at Richmond, VA, Nov. 16 and sent to Madison Ind. Hospital Feb. 8. His ailments were rheumatism and diarrhea. He left from Madison Hospital to Ale, Ohio February 23, 1864, and was mustered out of service June 16, 1864, at Stevenson, AL.
John B. was captured at Hunts Mill, AL September 26, 1863. He was confined at Richmond, VA, Sept. 29, admitted to C S Military Hospital in Richmond Oct. 20, and died Oct. 25, 1863, from typhoid and pneumonia.
William Oliver and his first wife, Nancy Elizabeth Berry separated at some time after his return home to Guesses Creek near Trenton, AL, in Jackson County. He lived in the home of James Cardin who was a comrade from his war days. At some time he went to Texas and Arkansas. Then he went to Missouri and acquired 120 acres of land. His first wife, Nancy Elizabeth Berry, died in Alabama about 1878 or 1879.
William Oliver and Nancy Elizabeth Berry Lusk had eight children:
John B. Lusk, William Thomas Lusk, Frances Maryon Lusk, Samuel G. Lusk, George William Lusk, Albert R. Lusk, Chassey Lusk, and Dora C. Lusk.
May 22, 1883, William Oliver and Nancy Jane Montgomery Allen were married in Springfield, Green County, MO. Her first husband, William Henry Allen whom she married April 26, 1874, left her and never returned. She said she received a letter from Allen's father in Chillicothe, Ohio, saying that William came home drunk and bled to death from his lungs a few days later. Allen's father asked her to come and bring her son. Her brother would not allow her to do so. William had fought for the Rebel cause during the Civil War, was often drunk for days, and moved 13 or 14 times in two years. He was believed to have stolen a horse.
June 24, 189 1, William Oliver was 5' 11 " tall, weighed 128 pounds, and was 68 years old. He was suffering from chronic bloody diarrhea, and rheumatism. At some point he was granted a pension of $12 per month.
February 19,1896, William Oliver (age 75) was 5'1 0 1/2" tall and weighed 120 pounds. He had very little control over his bowels. A tumor was found in his abdomen (above the umbilicus) which was about two inches wide. It pulsated with his heartbeat and was believed to be an aneurysm of the abdominal aorta. He was described as feeble, pale, weak, and anemic. He died August 12, 190 1. (Mama remembers that her Grandpa Sam Lusk was sent his father's watch.)
On two occasions William Oliver signed affidavits stating that he never fought for the Confederate cause, possibly because he had to in order to receive a pension.
July 12, 1904, William Lusk, son of William Oliver, wrote that his mother, Nancy Elizabeth Berry Lusk, was separated from William Oliver when she died 27 or 28 years ago. She was buried in the old Latham-Berry Cemetery.
July 11, 1904, Sam Lusk, another son of William Oliver and Nancy Berry, wrote a letter giving similar information to that of his brother William.
In March 1904, William Oliver's second wife, Nancy Jane, applied for a pension as his widow. After a lengthy investigation she was denied because she "had not proved that she was the legal widow of the soldier." A letter written by her younger brother, Robert Montgomery, hurt her case. Her sister, Mary Painter, was much older and not at all helpful in her letter.
April 23, 1914, Nancy Jane reapplied for a pension. Her neighbors and children wrote many letters supporting her. In a letter dated October 7, 1914, Special Examiner F. W. Tuckerman stated that the earlier examiners (1904) had been "over-zealous in this case."
June 17, 1915, a letter from the Commissioner of Pensions stated that Nancy Jane was already a pensioner and that pension commenced prior to the date of filing the latest claim.
March 2, 1920, Martha Padgitt asked for a pension increase: her mother was blind and helpless and had been badly burned.
Nancy Jane Lusk died April 20, 1920. Her pension check was returned to the government by her postmaster.
April 26, 1920, daughter Martha Padgitt wrote the U S Commissioner of Pensions asking for the "balance of her check to settle burial expenses." After submitting bills from the undertaker, livery (body was carried 40 miles for burial), dry goods store for cloth material, etc., Martha was reimbursed for most of the expenses.
William Oliver and Mary Jane Montgomery Allen Lusk had three children:
Martha Lusk Padgitt, Elza Lester Lusk, and Cora Lusk.
National Archives: Veterans Records and National Archives Citation for Remaining
Documents. Ordered by Sharon M. Martin, 468 Killingsworth Cove Road, Gurley, AL
35748, 1999. Sharon is the ggggranddaughter of William Oliver Lusk.
Summary done by Jean H. Arndt, gggranddaughter of William Oliver Lusk, 1906 Melbourne Avenue, Huntsville, AL, 35801
An interesting side note: In a letter dated Oct. 17, 1892, John W. Williams, William Oliver's 1st Lieutenant, wrote to support William Oliver's claim for pension because of his disabilities. He said that W. 0. brought him some red root (gotten by James Cardin) for his wife who was suffering from diarrhea. He even said he received letters from W. O. while he was in prison, telling of his diarrhea and rheumatism.
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